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MARCH MADNESS / NCAA TOURNAMENT | NOTES

Clancy Makes Duke Feel a Bit Rejected

March 25, 2001|SAM FARMER and J.A. ADANDE | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

PHILADELPHIA — Duke players venturing into the paint learned quickly to be leery of Sam Clancy, who had four blocks, each of them dramatic. He rejected forward Shane Battier and guard Chris Duhon, and twice swatted layup attempts by star point guard Jason Williams.

"On one I tried to catch it but I couldn't slam it to the ground and it went out of bounds," Clancy said. "I've been trying to work on that lately. Coach has been getting on me lately about blocking them out of bounds."

Clancy seemed to attack Williams' shots with a tad more gusto.

"I watched film on him against UCLA, and I know he's such a great player he's going to drive," he said. "So I came over from the weak side. And that's what I do, I block shots."

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The Trojans won three tournament games for the first time in school history, but advancing to the regional final was not enough to satisfy senior Brian Scalabrine.

"It's nice that we were in the Elite Eight, but all I can really think about is this loss to Duke," he said. "But name the Elite Eight from last year; I don't think anybody can, unless you say a Gonzaga that's made an unbelievable run, or a team that has upset some people. I feel like we were supposed to win some games and this is where we were supposed to be."

Scalabrine said it's too early to tell whether this team put USC basketball on the map.

"It just depends on what happens next year," he said. "It has to be four or five years in a row where you have to be competing for a Pac-10 championship, going to the tournament and not being a bubble team."

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You can't tell the players without a program? That's not the case with USC freshman Desmon Farmer, who wears bright gold knee-high socks and a matching headband. He had the same look at Northwestern High in Flint, Mich., although his socks and headband were white.

"I'm trying to make it a [Jason] Kapono look," he said, referring to the headband-wearing UCLA forward. "It's a Desmon Farmer look."

And it can be seen from outer space. Fans call him "banana legs," and say looking at his socks is a bit like looking at the sun--both make you squint.

"Dez likes a lot of attention," teammate Jeff Trepagnier said. "He's a real energized guy. That's how he is. He likes to bring attention to himself. We just tell him he can do it with his game. . . . I haven't heard any jokes about them, but I'm sure they're coming."

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The Blue Devils won't need to spend much time scouting their national semifinal opponent. This will be the third time they have played Maryland this season. They split their Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season games. Duke overcame a 10-point deficit in the last minute to win in overtime at Maryland, then the Terrapins beat Duke by 11 points at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Blue Devils won the third game in the ACC tournament by two points.

"We'll look at their last four games and see what changes they've made," Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski said.

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